We all want and need influence, especially in business. Influence can help you become a better leader, convince investors to fund your startup and convince an audience to accept your offer. It’s a quality every entrepreneur should master. And yet, there are many misconceptions around the concept of influence. Namely, that influence is all about what you say and how you say it. Those are merely components. What and how is the tip of the iceberg. The real process of wielding influence lies in determining the ideal perception of the audience you wish to persuade, be it an individual or a group.
The world’s best influencers, hostage negotiators and con artists among them — never ask, “What should I say?” Instead, their first question always is, “What do I need to know?”
If you’re preparing to deliver a speech, pitch investors or a business opportunity, asking, “What should I say?” sabotages your efforts before you’ve even begun.